Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Weight of Memories

Our things are here and I've begun the long, slow slog of puzzling them into our new surroundings. We've been fairly lucky so far - a lot of bad rubs (unfortunately many on our new furniture pieces), but only one desk was actually destroyed in the move.

Not unexpectedly, I'm having to downsize a lot as I unpack. In some ways I'm welcoming the discipline enforced by smaller cabinets; in other ways, it's hard to set things aside to pass along to others.

This move has added a new layer to the decision-making: having lived here for 4 months, we've accumulated a few duplicate things and now I have to decide whether to keep those duplicates or pass them along too.

For example.... Rather than using paper plates, I bought a few cheap but pretty ceramic plates at Dillons shortly after we arrived. They've given me a little lift as I've used them for the past few months; now I have to decide whether to keep them or pass them along. With cupboards in short supply, passing them along has won, but I'm feeling a pang as I let them go.

An even more difficult decision involved our silverware. When we first got here and I was scrounging for temporary household goods, my mother magically produced the old silverplate set that my paternal grandparents used for most of their married life. She said that I could have it permanently, if I wanted, as none of my siblings were interested and she wasn't going to use it. I was actually quite excited, as it turned out that the pattern was the same as a special spoon, the "D" spoon, that we kids had fought over using during childhood.

It's been so much fun to use the set, incomplete and worn as it is. It's brought back memories of my childhood and prompted speculation as to how my grandparents got the set and where the set has been. (These grandparents were missionaries in Arabia for many years.)

Now our things are here. And with those things is OUR set of flatware, a wonderful set that we've had since we got married many years ago and that has many, many memories of our own associated with it.

I've thought somewhat about switching out and using my grandparents' silverplate as our everyday flatware, but I've decided against it. There are good memories associated with both sets, but MY main memories are associated with our own set. I'm keeping their old set for now, hoping that one of our children will want it.

Memories are wonderful things, but they make this process of settling in more difficult. "Which memory-piece should I keep and which should I pass along?" "How much should I store and how much should I give away?" "Should I give this to Goodwill or should I save it for the family?" When added on top of the simpler but seemingly never-ending question, "Which cabinet can I fit these into?", the memories complicate the process immensely and wear me out rapidly.

But I wouldn't have it any other way.


Anonymous said...

I might take those ceramic plates. The other sibling can have the silver.

We should also invent a net-handle for her, since she is holding herself aloof. DocGaiaWolf?

Gaia Gardener: said...

Well, she goes by Genie02 generally, but that's pretty bland compared to your suggestion.

I'm not sure that I like DocGaiaWolf, but I DO like the idea of inventing a net-handle for her, since she's too standoffish to participate.... (Yeah, yeah, I know she's busy, but that excuse only goes so far, especially to her mother!)

Drawing on her childhood, PrincessDoc? (She's gonna kill me for that.)

Anonymous said...

Whoa! Just because the siblings missed the Model UN bus due to primping doesn't mean she was a "princess" - or maybe it does!

Do you think this will be sufficent bait to draw her into the blog?
Just trying to help out a fellow mom, Doc.

Seriously, Gaia Gardener, don't let any memory-pieces go. The storage problems will be worth it some day when you have numerous great-grandchildren to share them with.

Gaia Gardener: said...

I don't remember the Model UN bus incident, but it sounds like my kids!

Unfortunately, the bait hasn't been sufficient, though. I'm going to have to up the ante.